State oil company Saudi Aramco has extended the tender closing date to 15 March for the contract to build its SR1.5bn ($400m) King Abdulaziz Centre for Knowledge & Culture in the Eastern Province.

The one-month delay has been granted to give contractors more time to prepare their bids.

The prospective bidders include the local Al-Yamama Company for Trading & Contracting, Turkey’s Baytur, Dubai-listed Drake & Scull International, South Korea’s Hyundai Engineering & Construction, the local Saudi Oger, and South Korea’s SK Engineering & Construction. 

The successful bidder will build a complex that has been designed to resemble five pebbles standing in the desert, clad in stainless steel. Aramco says the pebbles will reflect the sun’s rays to make the structure visible over long distances. The centre will cover an area of 72,000 square metres.

The construction work covers five interconnected buildings. The tallest structure will be 15 floors high. They will house exhibition halls, a museum, an auditorium and theatre, a mosque, a library and a cinema. The main auditorium will seat up to 1,000 visitors.

Norway’s Snohetta is the lead architect. Three UK firms also worked on the initial designs: Buro Happold as structural and mechanical engineer; Davis Langdon as cost manager; and Davis Langdon Schumann Smith as design project manager.